There’s something so satisfying about tearing into a rack of ribs – and it’s not just because it’s one of the few times it’s acceptable for an adult to wear a bib. When done well, they’re sticky on the outside, with meat so mouth-wateringly tender it falls off the bone.
For ribs that are so downright delicious, it’s hard to stop at one rack, don some loose clothes and feast until you fall into a food coma. And don’t be afraid to get messy!
For succulent, smoky Texan-style barbecue, there’s one place to go: Bovine & Swine. Led by the Vic’s Meat Market masters, the restaurant fires up its smokers at 5am every day, cooking the meat low and slow so it melts in your mouth. Settle in to a table and order the beef short ribs, along with sides of mac ‘n’ cheese and housemade pickles.
92 Enmore Road, Newtown
Foodies flock to LP's for their beef short ribs, which spend 15 hours in a smoker before making their way on to your plate. The restaurant coats its ribs with nothing but salt and pepper to really allow the flavour of the meat to shine through. The result is a smoky, rich, delectable rack that pairs well with potato and gravy.
Suite 1, 12-16 Chippen Street, Chippendale
The ribs at Hurricane’s are legendary. There are venues all over the city, serving up pork, lamb and beef ribs that are basted in the steakhouse’s special sauce, then slow-cooked and chargrilled until the sauce caramelises. They’re sticky and delicious. To really treat yourself, peruse their sides menu and order the mac 'n cheese.
When you’re craving a rack of ribs in the Northern Beaches, head to Manly Grill. Nab an outdoor table, tie up your bib, and dig into the pork, beef or lamb ribs. The main point of difference here is the sauce – it’s saucy and sweet (rather than smoky), and generously smothered on every slab of meat.
30 S Steyne, Manly
The Meat & Wine Co is a glamorous spot to tuck into a rack (or half rack) of ribs. We’re talking leather booths, rich décor and cloth bibs. The beef and pork ribs are basted and slow-cooked, while the lamb ribs are char-grilled start to finish with a lemon, herb and mustard marinade. The ribs come with salad or crunchy chips.
Barangaroo, Circular Quay
In Erskineville, this much-loved pub recently got a makeover, and with it, a brand new backyard smoker. It’s the new go-to for authentic American barbecue, and locals are loving it. The baby back ribs spend six hours in the smoker and are barbecued for another six hours for a juicy, fall-off-the-bone result. Most of the meat dishes are gluten-free, and there are smoky vegetarian plates on offer too.
102 Erskineville Road, Erskineville
Tucking into a rack of ribs while overlooking the ocean? Yes, please! Papi Chulo’s menu is influenced by the American Deep South and jam-packed with juicy, meaty delights. While the chilli chicken and wagyu brisket are amazing, the lamb ribs are a must-try. They’re rubbed in spices, slow-cooked for six hours until tender, and then smothered in Papi’s secret BBQ sauce.
22-23 Manly Wharf, Manly
After the wild success of its Neutral Bay location, Ribs & Burgers started rolling out its succulent ribs all over Sydney. As the name suggests, these guys are no-fuss – they specialise in slow-cooked meat, and they do it well. The beef, lamb and pork ribs are cooked for eight hours, and then grilled with a homemade basting: signature, smoky BBQ, or lemon and herb.